BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Crime in Biloxi is down, according to the police department. In 2016, burglaries decreased by nine percent, robberies were down 29 percent, sexual assaults dropped 46 percent from the previous year, and aggravated assaults were down 48 percent. Biloxi Police Chief John Miller credits these statistics to being actively visible on the streets.
Roger Ladner is a patrol officer and when he's out on the streets he's always on the lookout.
"If I see something that just doesn't seem right, you get out, check it out, and make sure it's okay," Ladner said.
For Ladner, the biggest defense against crime is just for the police to be seen in the community on a regular basis.
"In my normal day, I try to cover at least every street in my beat and at least go through every street in my beat at least once," Ladner said.
Chief John Miller is entering his seventh year as head of Biloxi Police, and he said the proactive approach his officers take is making a difference. According to Miller, 70 percent of calls for service last year were made after officers saw something on patrol and investigated.
"If they're picking up 70 percent of these complaints before they ever become complaints, they've got to be getting around," Miller said.
With the active presence in neighborhoods patrolmen like Ladner get a feel for who might be up to no good.
"When they know you know who they are it tends to either push them out of the city to go other places or they tend to stop committing crimes because you know who they are," Ladner said.
As much as a police presence can be a crime deterrent, Chief Miller said citizens are on the front lines and can make the biggest difference.
"If you think something's not right, call us. And if it's not right, it's not right," Miller said. "If there's nothing going on and you were wrong then so be it. At least it was checked out."
Chief Miller says additional police officers on the streets could help reduce the crime numbers even more. Biloxi currently has about a dozen open positions in the police department.